FAQs and Facts About HBCUs

Are you curious about attending an HBCU? Wondering why they’re important? Or maybe you’re wanting to know more about their histories? Here are some FAQs and facts about HBCUs.

Student at an HBCU.

What are HBCUs?

Firstly, HBCU stands for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Created in the Higher Education Act of 1965, they are recognized as “…any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans.”

Why Are They Important?

Originally, HBCUs were created to give freed slaves and their ancestors an opportunity to work towards higher education and career opportunities. Today, they supply experience for African Americans, help them to be a part of their community and culture, and assist them with academic achievement gaps that still exist.

How Many HBCUs Are There?

As of January 2020, there are 107 HBCUs–56 being private and 51 being public. Together, these schools have 228,000 students enrolled. It is important to note, though, that 3 of the 107 are currently closed.

The state with the most HBCUs is Alabama, a few examples being Alabama A&M University – Huntsville, Miles College, Talladega College, and Tuskegee University.

Do you Have to Be African American to Attend an HBCU?

No, you do not have to be African American to attend an HBCU. Morgan State University in Baltimore has actually seen a rising number of non-African American students apply and attend in recent years. African Americans still make up the majority of students at Morgan, however, representing about 79% of the student population.

However, many HBCUs across the country are actually working to become more diverse.

What Are the Top HBCUs?

In 2018, College Raptor ranked the 25 best HBCUs in the nation. Take a look at the top three:

1. Spelman College

Spelman is highly praised as a historically black college for women. The student to faculty ratio is 11:1 and Spelman boasts a 91% first-year retention rate. There are more than 80 student organizations for students to participate in. Notable alumni include Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.

2. Howard University

One of the most impressive historically black colleges in the nation, Howard produces the most black doctorate recipients of any non-profit institution. From its foundation in 1867, the school has been open to students of all genders and races. Notable alumni include writers Toni Morrison and Ta-Nehisi Coates, and actress Taraji P. Henson.

3. Hampton University

Also known as “Home by the Sea,” Hampton University looks south across the harbor of Hampton Roads. The school’s acceptance rate is 44% and its student to faculty ratio is 13:1. Hampton student-athletes wear blue and white to compete in NCAA Division I sporting events and are known as the Pirates.

HBCUs are still a much-needed institution in the United States. They ensure that students have the resources they need to succeed, even today.

Interested in any of these schools? Check out if they’re a good match for you with College Raptor!

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